Google Cardboard is a new virtual reality device. Created by Google, it pairs with a Google App to help the viewer get a 3-D rendition of what they are viewing. The device was introduced at last year’s Google I/O conference. It provides the ability, as long as you are the owner of a smartphone, to do things such as viewing your pictures in 3D. This year Google introduced a new update of the device, the second generation of the Cardboard VR viewer.
It is almost amusing that the Google Cardboard looks like a toy. It is the exact opposite of the highly anticipated Google Glass, released a few years ago. The device itself is actually made out of cardboard. It has plastic lenses that render the 3-D images and it only costs around $4. But, this is Google’s intention. Google Cardboard is simple, and can be used by anyone. It does not scare off untechnical consumers with a clean cut tech look. David Coz, an engineer in Google’s Paris office who developed the Cardboard, said “We want the viewer to be as dumb as possible and as cheap as possible because we basically wanted to open VR for everyone.” Google’s mission is to expand virtual reality to all smartphones imaginable. The cardboard can be folded to fit up to any smartphone. Not only are they selling the Cardboard for cheap but, they are even offering a new software kit that makes it easy for app developers to make more VR applications. Because of the versatility of the Cardboard, Google is placing efforts in making it easy and accessible. The mission is more to amass an audience than to make profits.
The next step for Google Cardboard and VR are expansion and practicality. Google needs to expand by teaching the masses the real-word applications for Google Cardboard and VR. Google intends to tackle this first with entertainment. Google developed a 360-degree camera, called the Jump rig, that when it runs footage through Google’s software and processors; it will be turned into virtual reality. Google sparked a collaboration with GoPro for this. GoPro will begin to sell the rig with 16 GoPro cameras in the near future. Google said that YouTube, this summer, will start to allow the upload of virtual reality videos. Other companies such as Facebook, Sony and Microsoft are making big investments in VR. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has said that VR will be the next computing platform.